It’s the 35th anniversary of his historic achievement!
Doug Williams is a household name for Washingtonians, but if you’re not from Washington, D.C., you may not be familiar. A titan in the NFL, Williams represents the golden era of football for many fans and athletes alike. A quarterback for the Washington Redskins, now known as the Washington Commanders, Williams made history at Super Bowl XXII, parlaying his success on the field into a lengthy career as a coach and football executive, History.com reports. In honor of the 35th anniversary of that long-ago Super Bowl, here are 4 things you should know about Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl:
Williams is a native of Louisiana.
According to The History Makers, Williams was born August 9, 1955 in Zachary, Louisiana to parents Robert Williams, Sr. and Laura Williams. In high school, he played as a linebacker before switching to quarterback. After graduating in 1973, Williams was recruited by Grambling State University, playing under legendary football coach Eddie Robinson and eventually earning his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education.
He made history as the first Black quarterback to be drafted as a first-round pick and then to start in and win a Super Bowl game.
Williams was selected 17th overall in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making history as the first Black quarterback to be drafted in the first round. He played 5 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading them to the playoffs three times. In 1985, he was recruited by the Washington Redskins as a second-string quarterback to Jay Schroeder. Williams would eventually replace Schroeder as a starting quarterback in the 1987 season, leading the Redskins to Super Bowl XXII. He made history as the first African-American quarterback to start in a Super Bowl game, and the first to win, Washington defeating the Denver Broncos 42-10 with Williams scoring four of his five touchdowns in the first half and passing for 306 yards.
After retirement, Williams had an illustrious career as a football coach and executive.
Williams retired in 1989 from the NFL, launching a career as a football coach at the high school and collegiate levels. He served as a coach at Baton Rouge’s Northeast High, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Morehouse College. In 1998, he succeeded his former mentor and coach, Eddie Robinson, replacing him as head football coach at Grambling, coaching at the University from 1998-2003 and again from 2011-2013. In 2017, he traded in his coaching hat for a position as Senior Vice President of Player Personnel for the Washington Redskins, also working as a personnel executive for the Tamba Bay Buccaneers.
He’s received numerous accolades for his contributions and continues to give back.
He has received numerous accolades over the years, including a 2001 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor, and into the Redskins Ring of Fame in 2015. His Doug Williams Foundation, which he founded in 1988, gave out more than $100,000 in college scholarships during its first year and has continued to serve those most in need over the years.
Thank you for everything Mr. Williams! Because of you, we can!
4 things you should know about the first Black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. Photo Courtesy of Bettmann/Getty Images